3 Nephi 19:14 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
  and the multitude did witness it
→ and [do 1ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQS|did RT] bear record and angels did come down out of heaven and did minister unto them

In this passage, the editors for the 1920 LDS edition replaced the earlier reading, the presenttense “do bear record”, with the past-tense “did bear record”. This editing is consistent with the fact that all the other verb phrases in this passage use the past-tense form of the auxiliary verb do (“did witness it … did come down … did minister”). Such an emendation suggests that during the dictation of the text an original did was somehow replaced with do. Yet there appears to be no present-tense verb form in either the preceding or following verses that could have triggered such a change. Moreover, there are other instances of a present-tense reference to bearing record embedded within a past-tense narrative, including one in this same chapter that was not edited to the past tense in the 1920 LDS edition:

In both verses 14 and 33, the original text first says that the multitude perceived something, then the multitude “do bear record” (that is, in the present tense), and then the text continues the narrative in the past tense. This is as if the multitude’s bearing record continues into the present, which is actually reasonable when one considers that one’s witness may be eternal. A further example of the present tense in statements of bearing record is found earlier in 3 Nephi:

In addition, as noted under 3 Nephi 17:21, all of these examples of present-tense bear are immediately preceded by a past-tense reference to witnessing. The critical text will therefore follow the original present-tense references to bearing record in 3 Nephi 17:16, 3 Nephi 19:14, and 3 Nephi 19:33. This present-tense usage seems fully intended.

Summary: Restore in 3 Nephi 19:14 the original use of the present-tense “do bear record”; also maintain the two other instances of “do bear record” that have never been emended to the past-tense “did bear record” (in 3 Nephi 17:16 and 3 Nephi 19:33).

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 6